August 20, 2019
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August 2016 The Independent Voice

 The Independent Voice
       “Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii”
    Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association  
              August 2016

PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA   

Kona Coffee Enrolled in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste
New Tech for Sorting Green Coffee
Candidates Address Coffee Labeling Reform
Harvest Picnic – August 14th
Coffee and U.S. Soldiers during Wartime
Hawaii’s Best Food Festival – KCCF
Coffee Drinking Tied to Lower Risk of Suicide
Register for the USDA Rural Transport Subsidy
How to add a photo to your Farm Listing
Salute to Supporting Business Member Captain Cook Trading Co
Recipe: Kona Coffee Marinade for Steak
Write to Us
Editor – Clare Wilson

 ”Pure Kona Coffee” is Enrolled in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste


Last month New York-based SlowFoodUSA nominated Kona Coffee for inclusion in its Ark of Taste.  This month that nomination was formally accepted by the Slow Food Foundation and “Pure Kona Coffee” is now officially enrolled and listed on the Ark of Taste webpage.

The Ark of Taste serves as a resource for encouraging the continued production, consumption and preservation of America’s heritage food products. 

Here is SlowFood’s description of “Pure Kona Coffee” and the reasons for adding our heritage crop to the Ark of Taste:

“Grown in the districts of North Kona and South Kona on the Island of Hawai’i, Kona coffee is distinguished for having great strength, fine flavor and delicious aroma. These outstanding taste characteristics have been recognized for generations. In an 1866 letter to the Sacramento Union, Mark Twain wrote: “Kona coffee has a richer flavor than any other, be it grown where it may and call it what name you please.” Almost 150 years later, noted coffee writer Kenneth Davids described the taste of Kona coffee as “delicate, subtle, and sometimes extraordinary.”

Coffee has been grown in Kona since 1828 when the Reverend Samuel Ruggles introduced coffee cultivation near Napo’opo’o in South Kona. In the later part of the 19th century, coffee production expanded significantly in Kona with the development of hundreds of small coffee farms—primarily by Japanese immigrants. At present the “Kona Coffee Belt” —an area extending about 22 miles long and two miles wide from North Kona through South Kona at elevations of between 700’ to 2400’ above sea level —is home to more than 650 coffee farms with an average size of about 5 acres.

The very limited area in which Kona Coffee is grown on the Island of Hawai’i ensures this crop will not be taken over by industrial agricultural interests. Small average farm size ensures that Kona’s coffee farmers have an incentive to cultivate coffee in a way that is sustainable and maintains the quality for which Kona Coffee has become known.

The economic viability and future of “Kona Coffee” is at risk because of deceptive labeling practices occurring in the State of Hawai’i and on the US Mainland. Each year, millions of pounds of “Kona Blends” (90% of which are foreign-grown commodity coffee of undisclosed origin) are sold to consumers. As a result, the market is flooded with packages of coffee which consumers are led to believe to be “Kona Coffee” but are not. Kona’s coffee farmers lose millions of dollars each year because of misleadingly labeled “Kona Blends”. The labeling on the US Mainland is even more damaging, with little or no genuine content in many packages of coffee displaying the “Kona” name. The risk is that “Kona Coffee” will become a generic term for an undefined style of coffee while the exquisite flavor of Pure Kona Coffee disappears.”

To see the “Pure Kona Coffee” entry and to review the other US heritage products in the Ark of Taste catalogue — go to
–Submitted by the Branding Committee

New Tech for Sorting Green Coffee
Thanks to CBB, estate growers have had a growing stack of green 3x that either turns into compost or is sold to sketchy buyers for cheap. Many of us have been at a loss as to how to handle this grade as it doesn’t fit into our Kona marketing.  This past week, representatives from Satake Optical were on island to demo their green coffee color sorting machine designed for small farms.   The size of an ATM machine, the sorter can take one hundred pounds of worthless 3x and very quickly pull out 80 lbs of Prime grade coffee worth about $1300.  Watch the process here.
The machine is already in use around the world and costs about $67,000.  For most small farmers, the return on investment would be too long. However, one mill (Greenwell Farms) purchased the Satake for single-bag sorting and plans to make it available to farmers with small lots. It’s likely other dry mills will soon follow suit.  Before you throw out that 3x, or sell it for $50 a bag, consider this an option to keep more money in your pocket.
 –Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Candidates Address Coffee Labeling Reform

The KCFA Legislative Committee sent legislative and mayoral candidates a 2-part questionnaire about the calls from the Hawaii County Council and the Hawaii Democratic Party for reform of the coffee labeling law.  The questions were:

1—If elected, will you honor the request the Democratic Party of Hawaii that “the members of the Democratic Party of Hawaii in the State Legislature introduce and vigorously work for the adoption of the legislative reforms to HRS 486-120.6 requested in Hawaii County Council Resolution No. 501-14 requiring a minimum of 51% genuine content for labeling or advertising blends of coffee grown in the State of Hawaii and that the origin of all coffee in such blends be prominently identified on the primary display panel of the label”?

 2—If yes, please describe specific actions you pledge to take in order to “vigorously support the adoption of this legislation”.

To review the text of the Democratic Party’s resolution, click HERE.

Below are the responses received from candidates.  We ask KCFA members and supporters to consider these responses in making your voting choices for the August 13 primary election.

State Senate District 1

RUSSELL RUDERMAN: YES.  I have already introduced several Truth in Labeling bills, so I will support the bill of [KCFA’s] choice completely.

State House District 5

RICHARD CREAGAN: I am perfectly willing to reintroduce the bill [I sponsored last session]. While the 50% bill is a reasonable option, you are not dealing with a reasonable system. [KCFA is] right of course and that makes it all the more frustrating. [We] need to think outside the box perhaps as to what we can actually accomplish and what the timeline might be.

State House District 6

NICOLE LOWEN: Yes, I have either introduced or co-sponsored legislation to address Kona Coffee labeling every year since getting elected, and I am happy to continue to do so, as I support this legislation. I will, as I have in the past, introduce or co-sponsor legislation, and request hearings.  Unfortunately, our recent Agriculture committee chairs haven’t moved this measure forward, and as chairs that decision is theirs to make.  It is past time that a coffee labelling/ 51%+  bill be brought to the house and/or senate floor for a full vote of the legislature. and I am committed to continuing to work for this goal.

TOM MANN: I have in my written responses to the League of Women Voters and identified as [one of my top 2 goals] if elected “Passage of the bill to require at least 51% of coffee labeled Kona Coffee, to contain Kona Coffee beans.”  Do you know the saying “follow the money”?  I expect to drill into the conflict between legislators, and build consensus to action. I will let those in Honolulu know that this is a Jobs Bill!

State House District 7

CINDY EVANS: I support this resolution and would be willing to introduce a bill.  When Bob Herkes was at the leg, we discussed the gradual increase of percentage to get to where you wanted to go.  We wanted to address the concerns of growers who sold green and to address the great Public Relations associated with making Kona Coffee affordable to tourists who need gifts.

DAVID TARNAS:  Sure thing.  Twenty years ago, I supported legislation to require truthful labeling of Hawaii-grown coffee.  I look forward to returning to office so I can continue this advocacy.  I support the resolution that was approved at the State Convention of the Democratic Party of Hawaii regarding this issue.  I pledge to be an advocate to build the support necessary to achieve the goals of the resolution at the legislature. I would be happy to work with [KCFA] to develop specific legislative proposals to address the truthful labeling of Hawaii-grown coffee.  I would also work with you to develop an organized constituency of stakeholders to advocate the legislature to adopt our reform proposals.

Hawaii County Mayor

PETE HOFFMANN: As a member of the Democratic Party and partial to Kona coffee, I am a strong advocate of requiring a minimum of 51% genuine content for labeling or advertising blends grown in Hawaii and I believe this should be prominently displayed on the primary panel of the label.  I have always been a consistent supporter of this effort and will continue to do so after my election. Several actions I would take include: lobbying our State and Federal delegations, along with my fellow Mayors, to promote legislative reforms; adoption of County incentives for distributors/store owners who would assist in segregating coffee blends that do not conform to the 51% minimum;  promote aggressively a public outreach effort to educate residents and visitors alike why 51% content is simply a common sense approach for Kona coffee growers; advocate for 51% content with advertisements in Oahu newspapers;  being persistent in this effort until it is successful. 

 WALLY LAU:  Only on the condition that our local farmers:  1. will not have a financial burden or setback; 2. that the majority agree with legislation.  If above conditions are met, will submit letter of support. 
 –Submitted by the Legislative Committee

Harvest Picnic – You and Your Family are Invited!

Aloha all KCFA members and  families.  You are all invited to attend the annual KCFA Harvest Picnic.  It will be held Sunday, August 14th, from noon to 3:00 at the Church Lot Picnic area, across from the beautiful Honaunau Bay/Two Step beach.

Lunch will be served at 12:30.

KCFA will provide hot dogs, buns, condiments, water and paper products, etc.  Members attending are asked to bring your favorite potluck side dish or dessert to share.  Please bring your own drinks other than water.

As a special treat, renowned musician and fellow coffee farmer, Chet Gardner will provide us with music while we are dining.

At 1:30, Rob Curtis from HDOA will provide an update on the HDOA CBB subsidy program.  He will also take questions.

Come enjoy the beautiful ocean views, talk story with your fellow farmers and build the KCFA community.

There is free but limited parking, so carpool if you can.  Just look for the KCFA signs.

Please RSVP by emailing Karen Zulkowski ( or by calling 406-671-2909.  Please respond no later than Thursday, August 12th to let us know how many are coming so we can make sure we have enough food and other “stuff” for everyone.

Mahalo – See you all there!!
 –Submitted by Bruce Corker

Coffee and U.S. Soldiers During Wars
“…nobody can soldier without coffee” This is a quote from a Union cavalryman in 1865. These words begin a fascinating article about the importance of coffee during the Civil War, the Vietnam War and the Afghanistan War.

As heard on NPR’s Morning Edition series “The Hidden Kitchen”, the article looks at the different roles coffee played in each of the wars. Go to NPR to read the entire article:  NPR link here 
 –Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is Hawaii’s Best Food Festival

National Geographic Traveler Magazine has named the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival as Hawaii’s best food festival—among 49 other state best food festivals.  Here is a link–

Take a look. It is interesting to see which festivals National Geographic has selected for each state. The listing for Hawaii has a link to the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival website and mentions the “stroll”—that is, the Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll (this year Saturday, November 5), one of the premier events of the Festival, and co-sponsored by the Kona Coffee Farmers Association and the Holualoa Village Association.

If you are interested in assisting as a volunteer for this year’s Coffee & Art Stroll, contact Anita Kelleher —
 –Submitted by Bruce Corker

Harvard Gazette: Coffee Drinking Tied to Lower Risk of Suicide
Drinking several cups of coffee daily appears to reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent, according to a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Read More:
Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Register for USDA Rural Transport Subsidy by September 9

Every Hawaii farmer is eligible to be reimbursed for a percentage of nearly every purchase made for their farm.  From fertilizer to gasoline to lumber for rebuilding a coffee mill, the USDA will subsidize a portion of the expense. The Rural Transportation Cost Program (RTCP) was designed to assist with our high cost of farming due to ocean transport.  As each item we buy has some transportation cost built into it, it’s an easy subsidy to for growers to utilize.

Farmers must enroll with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by September 9th.  Then you have until November 2 to organize and submit your receipts for purchases made in the previous fiscal year.  The FSA staff is very helpful and the reimbursement can be several hundred dollars or more.

Contact Lester Ueda at the FSA in Hilo to register for the program: 808-933-8341
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

    …and it’s FREE!

Want the BUYING public to notice your Farm Listing? Click here: and what do you see?  What makes a particular farm stand out? The default (as you can tell too often) is our KCFA Seal but you can add a photo/image and make your listing POP! Take a minute- *Log in* and bottom right…<Update Info and Photos>, add a photo/image and then be sure to click <Update>.
 –Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Salute to KCFA Supporting Business Members

This month we salute Captain Cook Trading Company. Emmerich Grosch has been a Supporting Business Member since 2008. This is the man to see for your coffee processing equipment needs. He also carries equipment for macadamia nuts and cacao. Emmerich is full of information and very helpful for the beginning farmers and for the farmers who are ready to move up in the processing area. Here is a link to the Captain Cook Trading Company website:  

 Recipe: Kona Coffee Marinade for Steak
2/3 cup strong Kona coffee
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt & pepper
Mix all ingredients together and let your steaks marinate for 2 hours to overnight.
This also makes a great marinade for Portobello mushrooms but only needs about 30 minutes.
 –Submitted by Clare Wilson

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! >> Write us. We welcome Letters to the Editor up to 150 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length.  Include your name and email address >> Email: with SUBJECT: Commentary.